• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

Poetry - A Study of Reading Habits.

Extracts from this document...

Introduction

Poetry - A Study of Reading Habits I have recently finished reading a poem called "A Study of Reading Habits" written by Philip Larkin. When I first heard the title I had expectations that it would be a mundane insight into different people's reading habits, written in a formal and artificial manner. I also expected that it was written by someone who was very interested in books, and published in either a newspaper or teaching journal. However, when I actually read the poem I was surprised because the language used is in fact informal and quite rude. The poet uses scatological words such as "crap" where I would have expected more intellectual, vivid expressions. Furthermore, the content of the poem is not about a variety of different people's reading habits but instead just focused on one particular person's. As I studied the poem in more detail, I began to notice the techniques that were particularly effective and realised that beneath everything there was actually an interesting and thought-provoking theme. So in this essay I will highlight the points that were brought to my attention and explain the true meanings of the poem. ...read more.

Middle

The expression "it was worth ruining my eyes for" means that he must have read too much, despite warnings from his family. Instead of the poet using detailed descriptions in this verse, colloquial and even clich�d phrases are used. This technique is used because the only language the speaker has been exposed to, is that of his books. Another feature that I noticed in this verse was the lack of caesuras. This helps to bring out the persona's excitement when reading. By the time I had reached the end of the first verse I realised that one of the main themes dealt with was escapism. The persona is such an avid reader of adventure novels because for the time that he is reading the novel he can identify with the hero. This helps him to escape from reality into a fantasy world. By identifying with the hero, it helps him create a positive self-image and makes him feel better about his problems. Between verses one and two, there is a time lapse which is indicated by "later". The speaker now has also succeeded in ruining his eyesight because he now wears "inch-thick specs". ...read more.

Conclusion

His attitude towards books is now being reflected in the poem, in particular the last two lines. The phrase "Get stewed" tells us that the persona now finds his escape in alcohol and probably gets drunk regularly. He finds this relief more effective than books because it is better at helping him forget. The poet's control of line length and word choice make the condemnation of the last line powerful and dramatic. The words used "Books are a load of crap" act as a bold statement and the mild swearing conveys the persona's feelings precisely. He feels as if he has been let down by books and that he was gullible for ever believing in them. In conclusion, though the title suggests a dry, academic study into what people read, it is anything but this. It is written in a lively colloquial style and highlights important points about people and their psychology. In terms of theme, it is being suggested that the role of media in society is becoming too involved with people's lives. The persona in this book, for example, started to mistake fantasy with reality and become far too dependent on it. When he finally emerged from his fantasy world he was left in shock because he realised what the world was actually like. ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our AS and A Level Philip Larkin section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related AS and A Level Philip Larkin essays

  1. A Study of Reading Habits by Philip Larkin- Critical Essay on Theme of ...

    This stanza also shows us more about how this character interacts with others. 'The women I clubbed with sex! I broke them up like meringues' Here the persona relates to the main character of the books he reads and now imagines himself being a kind of romantic figure who is attractive to the opposite sex.

  2. "The Past is a foreign country: they do things differently there." Referring to L. ...

    The door to fatherhood is therefore also "locked" for Larkin. By starting with dialogue the poem is made more authentic as it adds an injection of reality to the verse. It also alerts Larkin to the fact that he is no longer part of that world, of public school boys

  1. Larkin has been accused of a lack of sympathy in his poetry, based on ...

    As the poem does not deal with death as explicitly as the other three poems, therefore it could be argued there is less sympathy needed anyway.

  2. Comparing four or more poems, including those of Brian Pattern - Show how the ...

    His dad continued life as if his mum was still there. 'He warmed her slippers'. Doing this for a woman that's dead shows a lot of uncomfort and unhappiness towards the rest of the family. The husband knows the wife has gone yet he doesn't want to show that she gone and never coming back.

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work